Henri Le Sidaner
Le village, Dolceacqua, 1911
signed and inscribed
oil on board
6 1/4 x 5 3/4 in, 15.5 x 14.5 cm
Born in Mauritius, Le Sidaner moved to Paris in 1880 where he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. In Paris he encountered art that was to shape his own: the...
Born in Mauritius, Le Sidaner moved to Paris in 1880 where he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. In Paris he encountered art that was to shape his own: the painterly technique developed by the Impressionists, notably Monet, and the mysterious and compelling atmospheres favoured by the Symbolists. Le Sidaner’s art built on these two strands and its beauty was acknowledged in the numerous awards won by the artist. He was awarded the Légion d’honneur in 1913, the Pittsburg Grand Prix in 1925 and was made Officer of the Order of Leopold in 1930. The same year he entered the Académie des Beaux-Arts and was appointed Secretary for life seven years later.
While Le Sidaner did not pursue symbolist imagery, he did paint with a desire not to depict things as they appear, but rather to evoke an atmosphere. As he would often point out to his students, no landscape was worth painting if it was not enhanced by some play of light. In this respect, the artist personally designed a garden in his estate in Gerberoy to have the means to experience and achieve his favourite quest of light effects.
‘Le village, Dolceacqua’, 1911, depicts the small Medieval town of Dolceacqua, known for its beautiful light and dramatic shadows. The town is in the Province of Imperia in the Italian region Liguria, located about 120 km southwest of Genoa and about 35 km from the French border. Archaeological remains bear witness to the successive occupations of the site since the Iron Age. Of the castle, built in 1151, only the ruins remain, perched on a rocky spur dominating the village at the foot of the Rebuffao mountain. The houses lead down to the Nervia River where an impressive single-arched 33-meter-long bridge joins the old town with the new.
The catalogue raisonné records Le Sidaner’s visit in 1911: ‘Stay in Dolceacqua, Italy…. Le Sidaner paints the bridge of Dolceacqua…. which strikes him very much… From a formal standpoint, the 1910 decade shows an evolution in the painter’s techniques. Composition is richer and expression is clearer in the use of divided tones’.
Monet painted the town from a very similar view-point in 1884.
Private Collection, Paris
Paris, Musée Galliera, Retrospective :
Henri Le Sidaner (1862 – 1939), April 1948, no.2
Chatou, Musée Fournaise,
Chatou, Henri Le Sidaner - Le Secret des Lumiéres, 29 April - 29 October
Yann Farinaux-Le Sidaner, Le Sidaner,
L'oeuvre peint et gravé, Editions André Sauret, Paris, 1989, no.1011,
Musée Fournaise, Chatou, Henri Le Sidaner - Le Secret des Lumières, exhibition catalogue, 2006, illus. p.29